Faculty Profile

Theresa Gillespie, PhD

Theresa W. Gillespie, PhD, MA, BSN

(Primary) Professor, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

(Secondary) Clinical Associate, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University

(Clinical Appointment) Professor, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine and Primary Care, and Division of Research, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center





Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member



Dr. Gillespie has a long history of experience in clinical oncology, particularly direct patient care. For 14 years she developed and led the clinical trials programs at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University while conducting prospective therapeutic and cancer control studies. As director of health services research at the Atlanta VA Medical Center for 10 years, she built and directed a program targeting chronic conditions including cancer and investigated key outcomes including mortality, morbidity, HRQOL, and costs.

Dr. Gillespie's research involves multiple cancer types, encompassing clinical, health services, and population-based investigations. Her breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer studies have been funded by multiple NIH institutes, AHRQ, CDC, American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, and the Avon and Movember foundations, and have focused on informed decision-making, measurement of quality and guideline concordant care, cancer disparities (including racial, socioeconomic, and rural/urban underserved), risk communications, and the intersection of technology, patient comprehension, and outcomes. 

Dr. Gillespie often consults VA, NSQIP, SEER, Medicare, and other national datasets in her research, and serves as the institutional lead for oncology health services research using the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) files for pancreatic, non-small cell lung cancer, esophageal, breast, gastric, melanoma, and prostate cancers. Dr. Gillespie is also funded by the Gates Foundation for a global web-based tool, the Global Health Primer, which provides education and information on research and development for neglected diseases and such non-communicable diseases as cancer in low- and middle-income countries.


View Dr. Gillespie's publications in PubMed.


  • Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

  • Atlanta VA Medical Center


  • BA in Communication Studies/Interpersonal Communications, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, 1976

  • MA in Health Education, Graduate School, University of Florida, 1977

  • BS in Nursing, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, 1981

  • PhD, Division of Educational Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Emory University, Specialty Track: Administration and Leadership in Higher Education & Research Methodology, 1998

Honors and Awards

  • Gold Award for Best Use of Video in Media Communications, American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, 2018

  • Top 2% of Cancer Journal Reviewers, 2016, 2017

  • Glenn Research Scholar, Glenn Family Breast Cancer Center, 2014-2016

  • Oncology Nursing Society, Travel Scholarship, Annual ONS Congress, 2013

  • Association of Veterans Affairs Hematology and Oncology Distinguished Lectureship, October 2012

  • Who's Who in America, 2006

  • Who's Who in American Nursing, 2000-2006

  • 2005 Excellence in Research Award, Georgia Nurses Association

  • Who's Who of Women Executives, 1996

  • Champion of Hope Cancer Control Distinguished Service Award, American Cancer Society, DeKalb County Unit, 1993

  • Public Education Award, American Cancer Society, DeKalb County Unit, 1988, 1989, 1992

  • Volunteer of the Year, American Cancer Society, DeKalb Unit, 1988

  • Cynthia Mallory Award for Leadership in Nursing, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, 1981

Editorships and Editorial Boards

  • Editorial Board, Cancer

  • Associate Editor, Original Research, Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology (JADPRO), Official Journal of the Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology & Oncology

  • Associate Editor, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) University

Current Organizational Memberships

  • World Health Institute: Technical Steering Committee, Working Group to Develop Mechanisms to Monitor and Report Research & Development for Neglected Diseases in Global Health

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology: Expert Panel for Media Consultation, University Faculty, Review Panel

  • American Cancer Society: Global Task Force Committee

  • Association of Veterans Affairs Hematology Oncology

  • Movember Foundation: Global Steering Committee, Outcome Measure and Health Economics Development for International Comparisons Committee

  • Oncology Nursing Society, National

  • Oncology Nursing Society, Metro Atlanta Chapter

  • Georgia Center for Cancer Research and Education: Board of Scientific Advisors; Emeritus, Board of Directors

  • Georgia Society for Clinical Oncology
  • Global Health Outcomes Consortium

  • International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research

  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

  • World Health Organization: Invited Member, Working Group to Develop Mechanisms to Monitor and Report Research & Development (R&D) for Neglected Diseases in Global Health; Technical Steering Committee, Global Health Research and Development Observatory

Research Focus

  • Decision-making and risk communications in cancer

  • Barriers to and facilitators of informed decision-making by minority and underserved populations

  • Measurement of quality of care

  • Disparities in cancer care and access

  • Health services research involving the examination of cancer outcomes and the linkage of large national, regional, and state databases

  • Global oncology research focused in low-and-middle-income countries